SEATTLE -- Ron Artest knows the Sacramento Kings have improved in the standings over last year.
Kevin Martin scored 31 points and Artest had 29 points and 12 rebounds in the Kings' 120-107 victory against the Seattle SuperSonics on Sunday night, helping Sacramento match its win total from last season with nine games left.
For the veteran forward, that's not even close to enough.
"It's a failure," Artest said of the Kings (33-40) not making the playoffs this season.
"We have one of the best defensive players to ever play the game in myself. We have Brad (Miller) and Kevin (Martin), up and coming first and second team All-NBA guys, and we have some good point guards, so it's a failure that we didn't make the playoffs."
The Kings broke away in the second half, holding the Sonics to only 18 points in the third period and used a 11-0 finishing run for a 94-83 lead.
"This was a case of our guys coming out in the second half and deciding that they wanted to guard somebody," Kings coach Reggie Theus said. "It was all about defense.
"They had eight or nine baskets off one play in the first half and that was because our guys refused to be physical and put a body on someone. In the second half, we talked at halftime, we got bodies on people and pushed them out of make the game a little tougher for them."
Francisco Garcia also contributed 21 points for Sacramento, which came in having lost four of five.
Kevin Durant scored 25 points to lead Seattle. Jeff Green scored 21 and Earl Watson had 20.
The Sonics (17-57), with the worst record in the Western Conference, have lost 14 of their past 16 games. The Sonics also haven't beaten the Kings in Seattle since Nov. 20, 2005 -- a five-game losing streak.
This might have been their last shot as the team's new ownership, under Clay Bennett, is trying to set up a move to Oklahoma City, perhaps by next season. The Sonics might have only four more home games after 41 years in Seattle.
It took the Kings nearly three quarters to lead by more than a basket. Artest's layup with 1:38 left in the third gave the Kings a 87-83 lead. The Sonics missed their final eight shots of the third quarter.
Trailing by 11 entering the fourth, the Sonics scored the first six points before the Kings snapped back. Coming out of a timeout, they sprinted out on a 10-2 run for a 104-91 lead with 7:47 left.
"Coach said they went on an 11-0 run and we didn't come back at them," Durant said. "That's something we have to do. Every team makes a run in this league, so we just have to come back at them and play hard on the defensive end, rebound the basketball and we'll be OK."
Martin had 19 of his points in the second half.
"He's our leader," Artest said. "When he's playing well everyone follows Kevin."
The lead changed hands seven times in the second quarter, although the Kings never led by more than two points in the half. Luke Ridnour's 20-footer with 4.7 seconds -- his lone basket of the game -- allowed the Sonics to take a 65-62 lead into the half.
That was the Sonics' highwater mark for first-half points this season.
"Sometimes we play against a lower opponent whose record isn't as good as one of the elite teams and we just kind of play down to their level," Artest said.
Brad Miller, averaging 36 minutes and 13.6 points per game for the Kings, played just 9½ minutes in the half because foul trouble.